Colt’s Model 1877 Lightning revolver (occasionally confused with its 1884 Lightning pump-action rifle) was the company’s first double-action handgun, brought out to compete with the double-action British bulldog revolvers gaining in popularity at the time.
From about 1880 ’till the beginning of World War I, so-called “contract guns” were sold as house brands by scores of hardware and sporting-goods dealers under the names of gun companies that never existed except on paper—an external hammer shotgun can be a thing of beauty or a disaster waiting to happen.
In recent years RTI has gained interest for its haul of old surplus rifles from Ethiopia. Among these aging arms are some of the most under-appreciated manufactures of the British Short, Magazine Lee-Enfield, being the No.1, Mk III* rifles produced by Ishapore in India.
By the latter part of the 1830s, most of the major powers finally let practicality overcome economy, realizing that it was time to switch their small arms over from flintlock to percussion. Britain and France were among the earliest, with the United States following suit in short order—the Americans fielding the handsome Model of 1842.
Christian Sharps is probably best remembered for his famous Sharps falling-block, breechloading, single-shot rifle, which he patented on Sept. 12, 1848. But a little more than a year later, on Dec. 18, 1849, he also patented an equally innovative four-barreled derringer.